New Book! The Future of Violence: Robots and Germs, Hackers and Drones——Confronting A New Age of Threat

I am thrilled to announce the publication of my new book, coauthored with the fabulous Gabriella Blum of Harvard Law School: The Future of Violence: Robots and Germs, Hackers and Drones——Confronting A New Age of Threat. Here’s the publisher’s description of the book:

From drone warfare in the Middle East to digital spying by the National Security Agency, the U.S. government has harnessed the power of cutting-edge technology to awesome effect. But what happens when ordinary people have the same tools at their fingertips? Advances in cybertechnology, biotechnology, and robotics mean that more people than ever before have access to potentially dangerous technologies—from drones to computer networks and biological agents—which could be used to attack states and private citizens alike.

In The Future of Violence, law and security experts Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum detail the myriad possibilities, challenges, and enormous risks present in the modern world, and argue that if our national governments can no longer adequately protect us from harm, they will lose their legitimacy. Consequently, governments, companies, and citizens must rethink their security efforts to protect lives and liberty. In this brave new world where many little brothers are as menacing as any Big Brother, safeguarding our liberty and privacy may require strong domestic and international surveillance and regulatory controls. Maintaining security in this world where anyone can attack anyone requires a global perspective, with more multinational forces and greater action to protect (and protect against) weaker states who do not yet have the capability to police their own people. Drawing on political thinkers from Thomas Hobbes to the Founders and beyond, Wittes and Blum show that, despite recent protestations to the contrary, security and liberty are mutually supportive, and that we must embrace one to ensure the other.

The Future of Violence is at once an introduction to our emerging world—one in which students can print guns with 3-D printers and scientists’ manipulations of viruses can be recreated and unleashed by ordinary people—and an authoritative blueprint for how government must adapt in order to survive and protect us.

Here are the wonderfully generous blurbs people have give us:

Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America
“A book that manages to meld Hobbes, James Bond, science fiction, and Supreme Court decisions is a rare read. All the more impressive when it takes a complex set of urgent questions about the intersection of technology, security, and liberty, and offers insights and at least the beginnings of answers. Violence will be always with us, but its forms are changing in ways that challenge our ability to respond to and regulate it.”

Bruce Schneier, author of Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum have written a compelling and provocative book about an important topic we have not adequately faced: managing catastrophic risk in a technologically advanced society. I strongly recommend this book even for people who will not agree with the authors’ conclusions.”

Matthew Olsen, former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center
“Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum provide a compelling and sobering argument that the rapid advancement and proliferation of new technologies—from cyber to biotech to robotics—have fundamentally altered our security. We face the prospect of a Hobbesian state of nature, where each individual is at once a figure of great power and great vulnerability. In this indispensable book, Wittes and Blum then tackle the staggering implications: What does this mean for the social contract between citizen and state and our traditional notions of liberty, privacy, and security? In short, can the modern state keep us safe?”

John Chris Inglis, former Deputy Director of the National Security Agency
“A superb treatment of a roiling landscape brought on by breathtaking advances in technology and an onrush of global connectivity that easily outruns systems of governance and user expectations. A must read for those seeking a framework for understanding and action.”

Michael Chertoff, former United States Secretary of Homeland Security
“In a globalized world facing widely distributed and technologically empowered threats, Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum develop a new and compelling vision for a twenty-first century legal and security architecture. Political leaders, judges, and citizens will find important guidance in this book.”


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